The new-look Lakers have performed admirably.
Your Los Angeles Lakers look like a completely different club since team vice president of basketball operations Rob Pelinka made a variety of t to trades to upgrade his roster surrounding stars LeBron James and Anthony Davis. Some experts went even further than that, asserting that LA actually made a better deal than even its potential move to trade for mercurial All-Star point guard Kyrie Irving, now with the Dallas Mavericks.
On their must-listen podcast The Mismatch, The Ringer’s Kevin O’Connor and Chris Vernon spoke at length about the series of moves Pelinka made around the February 9th NBA trade deadline to improve the team’s personnel.
“My first reaction to this is I cannot believe the Lakers did this good on a Westbrook deal, honestly,” Vernon said. “I think that is [an] amazing return, considering the circumstances.”
“It’s absolutely incredible Chris,” O’Connor agreed. “If you factor in the Rui Hachimura deal, and today [the day of the podcast recording] they get Mo Bamba, my guy, from the Magic… they essentially gave up one first-round pick, protected top-four like you said in 2027, and one second-round pick, to go from Russell Westbrook to D’Angelo Russell, Patrick Beverley to Malik Beasley, Juan Toscano-Anderson to Rui Hachimura, Damian Jones to Jarred Vanderbilt, and Thomas Bryant to Mo Bamba. Those are upgrades across the board for the Lakers. They now have better shooting, better defensive versatility, better playmaking, better fits next to Anthony Davis and LeBron James, better lineup flexibility.”
“We could not have predicted them to do this well, after everything this whole year — whiffing on [Myles] Turner and [Buddy] Hield, not getting Kyrie Irving — I think they ended up with what could go down as the best-case scenario, giving up what they did for this return.”
That is when the podcast got truly satisfying for Lakers fans, as the dynamic duo clarified exactly how they felt about this return for LA as opposed to a potential Irving deal.
“This is better than the [hypothetical] Kyrie deal,” Vernon said. “And [James] went on TV saying he was disappointed [LA did land Irving]. This is better in terms of team depth and what you need.”
“It really is unbelievable,” O’Connor raved.
Since LeBron James returned to the lineup for LA, the Lakers have won two straight blowouts by an average of 15.5 points.
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